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NDW Committee Guide

Who is sitting where and discussing what.

The Assembly is back next week – here’s a little reminder of those new committees that have been set up and their membership. Most of them will be meeting in public either every week or every fortnight.

There are 7 subject committees:

Children, Young People & Education Committee

This committee will start with an inquiry into youth work and scrutiny of the Additional Learning Needs & Educational Tribunal Bill, as this will be one of the first Bills introduced in the Fifth Assembly term. Later on, they’ll be the ones to look at the ban on smacking of children and Welsh Labour’s promise of 30 hours’ free childcare.

Chair: Lynne Neagle (Torfaen)(Lab)

Members: Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East)(Con); Michelle Brown (North Wales)(UKIP); Hefin David (Caerphilly)(Lab); John Griffiths (Newport East)(Lab); Llyr Huws Gruffydd (North Wales)(PC); Darren Millar (Clwyd West)(Con); Julie Morgan (Cardiff North)(Lab)

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

They’re starting off with an inquiry into the future of agricultural and rural development policies, given that most of these are actually made through EU legislation. This committee will probably have a very heavy workload over the next couple of years as they unpick what will be affected by Brexit and how the Welsh Government can best safeguard the farming industry.

Chair: Mark Reckless (South Wales East)(UKIP)

Members: Jayne Bryant (Newport West)(Lab); Sian Gwenllian (Arfon)(PC); Vikki Howells (Cynon Valley)(Lab); Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore)(Lab); David Melding (South Wales Central)(Con); Jenny Rathbone (Cardiff Central)(Lab); Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales)(PC)

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

This is a brand new committee – most of the others have been slightly modified from the Fourth Assembly - and it was set up after growing concerns about the Welsh media. Top of their agenda will mostly likely be the funding of S4C, as this is under review by the UK Government. They’ll also seek to feed into the BBC Charter renewal process.

Chair: Bethan Jenkins (South Wales West)(PC)

Members: Hannah Blythyn (Delyn)(Lab); Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)(Lab); Suzy Davies (South Wales West)(Con); Neil Hamilton (Mid & West Wales)(UKIP); Dai Lloyd (South Wales West)(PC); Jeremy Miles (Neath)(Lab); Lee Waters (Llanelli)(Lab)

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

This committee has a broad remit which touches upon many areas of education, given that skills and research fall under its issues. They will be keen to look at how the 100,000 apprenticeships promised by the Welsh Government will be delivered, how the UK Government’s apprenticeship levy will affect business, and how new transport powers from the Wales Bill will be used.  

Chair: Russell George (Montgomeryshire)(Con)

Members: Hannah Blythyn (Delyn)(Lab); Hefin David (Caerphilly)(Lab); Vikki Howells (Cynon Valley)(Lab); Mark Isherwood (North Wales)(Con); Jeremy Miles (Neath)(Lab); Adam Price (Carmarthen East & Dinefwr)(PC); David Rowlands (South Wales East)(UKIP)

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

This committee tends to look at all things related to local authorities, as well as equality more broadly. Their remit includes local government reform, housing, regeneration, cohesion, safety, human rights and equality of opportunity. First on their agenda is post-legislative scrutiny of the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act. Chair, John Griffiths (Newport East)(Lab), has already stated that tackling poverty will be their “top priority” over the next 5 years.

Chair: John Griffiths (Newport East)(Lab)

Members: Gareth Bennett (South Wales Central)(UKIP); Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy)(Con); Sian Gwenllian (Arfon)(PC); Bethan Jenkins (South Wales West)(PC); Rhianon Passmore (Islwyn)(Lab): Jenny Rathbone (Cardiff Central)(Lab); Joyce Watson (Mid & West Wales)(Lab)

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

This one has been set up to cover issues that are time-sensitive or are outside the remit of the other subject committees. First on their agenda: Brexit - indeed AMs will approve a motion to formally include this in the Committee's remit when they return from recess. 

It should be noted that Nathan Gill (North Wales)(Ind) was a member of this committee until he decided to leave the UKIP group. All committees have to have party balance, so it’s expected that the Business Committee will allow UKIP to send another AM to take his place. Mr Gill may be allowed to join another committee, but this has not been made clear.

Chair: David Rees (Aberavon)(Lab)

Members: Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)(Lab); Suzy Davies (South Wales West)(Con); Mark Isherwood (North Wales)(Con); Steffan Lewis (South Wales East)(PC); Jeremy Miles (Neath)(Lab); Eluned Morgan (Mid & West Wales)(Lab)

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

This committee already has two inquiries on the go: their annual look at winter preparedness in the NHS and one into the sustainability of the health and social care workforce in Wales. In light of the agreement between Welsh Labour and the Welsh Liberal Democrats, they will likely look into extending the safe nurse staffing levels law in future. Coming up for them in 2016/17 will be the return of the Public Health Bill.

Chair: Dr Dai Lloyd (South Wales West)(PC)

Members: Dawn Bowden (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)(Lab); Jayne Bryant (Newport West)(Lab); Angela Burns (Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire)(Con); Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)(PC); Caroline Jones (South Wales West)(UKIP); Julie Morgan (Cardiff North)(Lab); Lynne Neagle (Torfaen)(Lab)

There are 6 specialist committees, which have their functions set out in statute:

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

This committee considers all subordinate legislation – such as regulations, orders and statutory instruments – before making a recommendation to the Assembly. They’ve been very busy over the summer looking at the Wales Bill, and were disappointed that Welsh Secretary (Alun Cairns) rejected their invitation to give evidence on it directly.

Chair: Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore)(Lab)

Members: Michelle Brown (North Wales)(UKIP); Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Dwyfor Meirionnydd)(PC); David Melding (South Wales Central)(Con)

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

This one doesn’t meet as often, but when it does it’s often all over Wales in public places. This means it isn’t always broadcast live but you can usually find either a transcript or a recording later on. This is a chance for AMs to examine the First Minister directly on his priorities for government.

Chair: Deputy Presiding Officer (Ann Jones) 

Members: Jayne Bryant (Newport West)(Lab); Russell George (Montgomeryshire)(Con); John Griffiths (Newport East)(Lab); Mike Hedges (Swansea East)(Lab); Huw Irranca-Davies (Ogmore)(Lab); Bethan Jenkins (South Wales West)(PC); Dai Lloyd (South Wales West)(PC); Lynne Neagle (Torfaen)(Lab); Nick Ramsay (Monmouth)(Con); Mark Reckless (South Wales East)(UKIP); David Rees (Aberavon)(Lab); Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales)(PC)

Finance Committee

This committee has statutory functions in scrutinising Welsh Government budgets and supplementary budgets. It looks at all expenditure from the Welsh Consolidated Fund: this includes the Assembly Commission budget, the Wales Audit Office and the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. They will need to analyse the Land Transaction Tax Bill and Landfill Disposals Tax Bill early on in the term. On top of this, they will keep a watching brief on income tax powers being devolved to Wales in 2018.

Chair: Simon Thomas (Mid & West Wales)(PC)

Members: Mike Hedges (Swansea East)(Lab); Eluned Morgan (Mid & West Wales)(Lab); David Rees (Aberavon)(Lab); Steffan Lewis (South Wales East)(PC); Nick Ramsay (Monmouth)(Con); Mark Reckless (South Wales East)(UKIP)

Petitions Committee

This committee considers all petitions presented to the Assembly from the public. The four AMs – one from each party group – decide on what to do with a petition once it reaches them, which usually entails writing to the relevant Cabinet Secretary or another government body. Occasionally, they will undertake a particular inquiry or hold a debate on a petition.

Chair: Mike Hedges (Swansea East)(Lab)

Members: Gareth Bennett (South Wales Central)(UKIP); Janet Finch-Saunders (Aberconwy)(Con); Neil McEvoy (South Wales Central)(PC)

Public Accounts Committee

This committee ensures that all public money is spent appropriately and efficiently. The Auditor General for Wales, Huw Vaughan Thomas, also sits on this committee and there is much joint-working between the Chair and the Wales Audit Office. They will often look into heath board accounts, local government finances and other public bodies like Natural Resources Wales and commissioners’ offices.

Chair: Nick Ramsay (Monmouth)(Con)

Members: Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)(PC); Mohammad Asghar (South Wales East)(Con); Neil Hamilton (Mid & West Wales)(UKIP); Mike Hedges (Swansea East)(Lab); Rhianon Passmore (Islwyn)(Lab); Lee Waters (Llanelli)(Lab)

Standards of Conduct Committee

This one usually meets in private, with the Standards Commissioner (Gerard Elias) to discuss complaints about AMs’ behaviour, as well as the processes behind the Register of Members’ Interests.

Chair: Jayne Bryant (Newport West)(Lab)

Members: Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire)(Con); Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Dwyfor Meirionnydd)(PC); David Rowlands (South Wales East)(UKIP)

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